Your email is not valid
Recipient's email is not valid
Submit Close

Your email has been sent.

Click here to send another

thescroll_header

Center of Nazi-Looted Art Dispute Dies at 81

German recluse Cornelius Gurlitt leaves art trove worth $1.4 billion and no will

Print Email
The house of Cornelius Gurlitt in the Aigen district of Salzburg, Austria, where the German recluse stored part of his art collection. (Joerg Koch/Getty Images)

The 81-year old recluse German Cornelius Gurlitt, who hoarded modern European masterpieces in his Munich apartment for decades until the trove was discovered in 2012, died after a heart operation on Tuesday, the New York Times reports. Gurlitt inherited the art collection from his father, who was reportedly ordered by Hitler to acquire and sell the “degenerate art” in order to help finance Nazi activities. The collection has nearly 2,000 pieces, including works by Chagall and Matisse, and is worth an estimated $1.4 billion.

In February 2012, authorities found the trove while investigating Gurlitt for possible tax evasion. The German government has been in the process of returning the masterpieces to the heirs of their rightful owners, many of whom are Jewish families. Last month, Gurlitt’s lawyers reached an agreement with a team of international experts granting them the right to continue researching the provenance of the paintings.

Gurlitt’s death ends “both the court-ordered care as well as the investigation,” said Stephan Holzinger, Gurlitt’s spokesperson, referring to the tax evasion inquiry. In terms of a will stipulating what would happen to the collection the event of Gurlitt’s death, no document has yet been found.

Previous: Major Nazi-Looted Art Collection to be Returned
Germany Reaches Deal on Nazi-Looted Art Trove
Related: Why the Germans Haven’t Returned $1 Billion Worth of Nazi-Looted Paintings

Print Email

Thank You!

Thank you for subscribing to the Tablet Magazine Daily Digest.
Please tell us about you.

Center of Nazi-Looted Art Dispute Dies at 81

German recluse Cornelius Gurlitt leaves art trove worth $1.4 billion and no will

More on Tablet:

Terror Financing Trial Underway in Brooklyn

By Rachel Delia Benaim — U.S. relatives of Hamas terror victims take Arab Bank to court